A JUDGE told a court it would be "unconscionable" to send a pensioner to prison despite the fact he downloaded dozens of indecent images of children.

Barry Chapman, of Woodlands Park in Allostock, was appearing at Chester Crown Court on Monday, May 9.

The 76-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of making 81 indecent images and one of the overall possession of those.

Of the 81 indecent images Chapman downloaded, 56 of them were in the highest category. They had all been downloaded between May 31, 2006, and November 14, 2018.

Although originally arrested in July 2018, His Honour Judge Steven Everett said the case had been pushed down the list of priorities by Cheshire Police and Chapman was not charged for another three years.

“It’s outrageous,” he said

“There’s no excuse.

“I know what has happened with the police – the non-contact cases get pushed down the list.

“But there comes a time when a case like this has to take priority.

“It is not how justice should operate.

“But it makes a huge difference to the defendant, because I will tell you right now, I will not be sending him to custody when I do pass sentence.

“It would be unconscionable to send him to prison.

“It might have been different had he been prosecuted as he should have been.”

Judge Everett went on to tell Chapman it is likely he will face either a community order or a suspended sentence.

The matter was adjourned until Wednesday, June 26 at Chester Crown Court to allow the probation service to carry out a pre-sentence report on the defendant.